Category: Eat

Understanding Turkish Cuisine

Understanding Turkish Cuisine

One of the biggest attractions for tourists in Turkey is genuine Turkish cuisine. The history of Turkey is also a delight. Straddling the continents of Europe and Asia, this country has a lot of history. In fact, the city of Istanbul can be classified as an eternal city, that is, in the same group with cities like Jerusalem and New Delhi. But the Turkish palate delights did not just happen. Their food has a long history.

This history stems from the time that they used to eat mutton and horse meat, this cuisine has definitely come a long way. It has also survived many empires, and ultimately, has inherited qualities from every one of them. Some of the early history from the Ottoman Empire shows us that there were two types of kitchens in the empire. There was the palace kitchen where royalty food was made, and then there was the ordinary public kitchen.  

The modern Turkish cuisine may be unique to different regions. However, it is also possible to get a strong cuisine with a touch from every region, that is, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia, Aegean and other areas all found in Turkey. However, when you travel to these individual places, you may find cuisines unique to those areas only.

With a lot of influence from the modern world, is it possible to find Turkish cuisine that is practically unadulterated? Of course there is. Like every other country, Turkey has tried to preserve some of its culture and we all know that food is a big part of culture. Therefore, as a traveler, there are certain restaurants that you can go to and have a good helping of the best Turkish cuisine.

Perhaps the reason why Turkish cuisine is so fantastic is because of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, a Muslim leader who is credited with the founding of the Sufism religious philosophy, which was centered around food, with the kitchen being the most important place in any home. This was in the 13th century. Many years later, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the cuisine would become watered down as more modern way of life was adopted as Turkey sought to fit in with the ideals of modern Europe.

Long story short, you can have delightful and authentic Turkish cuisine in these restaurants:

Bitlisli

restaurant with lots of people

This restaurant is located on Hocapasa Camii Sok, Istanbul Turkey serves authentic Turkish cuisine.  You can expect to eat great food here, and do make sure you try the fire-smoked bread, as well as lahmacun and kababs. The ambience is well… so warm and Turkish. Be sure to try the meat and the red lentil soup. The prices are friendly too. Opening hours are 9.00AM to 10.00PM.

Ciya Sofrasi

outside of a restaurant with tables and chairs

This restaurant serves authentic Turkish foods, all made from local ingredients. Apart from the very regular yoghurt and kebab, there is also the very spicy lentil soup, minced meat dishes and many more. It serves dishes from different regions in Turkey, and each dish is cooked using the traditional methods unique to it. This restaurant is located in Caferaga Mahallesi, Kadikoy, Istanbul Turkey. Ciya Sofrasi opens from 8.00AM to 10.00PM.

Mantici

front view of a restaurant

While the two first restaurants that we have reviewed here are more laid back, Mantici is more flamboyant and proud, but that does not alter the authenticity of their food. You must specifically try the manti, which is one of the most popular dishes from Turkey. It is made of meat dumplings, garlic yoghurt and tomato paste. It is pretty small, but it is so well known. The Mantici is located on Bozkurt Mahallesi, Teyyareci Fehmi Sk. No. 10, Istanbul. Opens at 9.00 AM and closes at 9.00PM.

6 Go-To Kebab Places in Istanbul

6 Go-To Kebab Places in Istanbul

Istanbul is a famous destination for people who love meat, especially kebab lovers. The next time you find yourself in Istanbul, here are some of the best places where you can enjoy mouth-watering kebabs.

Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu

Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu

The Siirt Şeref Büryan Kebap Salonu is a restaurant that is famous for the büryan kebab. This kind of a kebab is made from the meat of a side of a young lamb. The meat is cooked slowly over coals that have been put in a deep hole that is dug in the ground. This cooking process makes the meat very tender with a thin layer of crispy fat. This restaurant is open daily from 10.00AM to 11.00PM.

Zübeyir Ocakbasi

This is a cozy grill house that is located close to the Taksim Square. It is famous for its great tasting Turkish foods. Its visitors are allowed to sit on a few grill side seats and watch the chefs do their thing.

This joint is famous for their Adana kebab, which is made from minced meat and red pepper. You can also try out their delicious pirzola (lamb chops) and kanat (chicken wings). It opens daily from 12.00PM to midnight.

Çiya Kebap

The Ciya is one of the most famous joints in Istanbul for making great Turkish kebabs. The Fistik and the Hashasli kebabs are two of their best. The fistik is made with minced lamb meat and chopped pistachios. The latter is made from minced lamb and poppy seeds.

You can also try some of their divine seasonal kebabs such as the once grilled with garlic, loquats, cloves or quince. The place is open daily from noon up to 10.00PM.

Kebapçi Enver Usta

The Kebapçi Enver Usta is located in the serene Beyoğlu alley in Turkey. Due to their tasty kebabs, this joint is usually packed with meat lovers most of the time. It is famous for making a variety of kebabs and it does not disappoint on any of them.

The must-try is the Adana kebab, which they make from minced meat that is spiced with red paper. Their chicken kebab is also great not forgetting the appetizing ezme salatasi. This is a salad that is made from parsley, red onion, red pepper and tomatoes. This hotel is open from Monday to Saturday, from noon up to 4.00PM.

Antiochia

inside the Antiochia restaurant

Antiochia, which is famous for its tasty dishes is a small restaurant located in the Hatay Region in southern Turkey. Its meat dishes are rather simple but they do not compromise in flavors; they are tender and savory.  

While in Antiochia, be sure to try out their Şiş et, which is a dish of marinated beef cubes that are grilled over charcoal. The dürüm is also among their best dishes. It is a minced meat wrap that has tomatoes and onions. This restaurant is open from Monday to Friday, from noon to midnight and on Saturday from 3.00PM to midnight.

Dürümzade

The Dürümzade is best known for serving a dürüm, which is also known as a Turkish wrap. They make their dürüm by wrapping a lavash (a flatbread) over a chicken or minced meat kebab creating a crispy drape for the meat. The lavash is further covered with onions, tomatoes and parsley. This eatery is open every day for 24 hours.